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Warrant: The Current Debate [Paperback]

Alvin Plantinga

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Book Description

1 Nov 1992
Plantinga examines the nature of epistemic warrant; whatever it is that when added to true belief yields knowledge. This volume surveys current contributions to the debate and paves the way for his owm positive proposal in Warrant and Proper Function.

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Warrant: the Current Debate

Warrant and Proper Function

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First Sentence
My topic is warrant: that, whatever precisely it is, which together with truth makes the difference between knowledge and mere true belief. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Survey (Vol .1 of 3 Vol Series) 6 Oct 2006
By Reader From Aurora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Warrant The Current Debate by Alvin Plantinga is the first in the author's trilogy on subject of warrant. This first instalment surveys current thoughts on knowledge and sets the stage for Plantinga to lay out his view in Warrant and Proper Function. It is then applied to theistic belief in Warranted Christian Belief. Plantinga a leading contemporary philosopher in the fields of epistemology and the philosophy of religion.

This is an extensive and comprehensive overview of historic and contemporary views on knowledge. It covers the leading thinking and concepts in this area; Chrisholm, Alston, Bonjour etc. and even a nice discussion of Bayesian probability. The presiding definition of knowledge is `justified true belief' - with perhaps some caveats to account for Gettier-like problems. Discussion of this understanding is usually centered on issue of justification, i.e. what in addition to true belief is required to constitute knowledge. Plantinga uses warrant more or less synonymously with justification and seeks to understand how it might be achieved.

I am a fan of Plantinga, I find him to be a rare intellectual; brilliant, humble and witty. I did, however, have a couple of minor quibbles with the book. First, with respect to the physical book itself, I'm not sure exactly what it was, perhaps the font or the construction (or maybe my failing eyesight) - but, I thought the layout was less than ideal for this type of dense subject-matter. Anyways, relatively minor stuff. The other criticism regards the flow, the front end of the book felt a bit choppy. Granted the text is written for an audience within a level of background knowledge, however I thought a clearer description of the different understandings of internalism and externalism would have been helpful and, not a big cost for a trilogy such as this.

Overall, this is a tremendous series which makes an important contribution. I highly recommend it for readers interested in epistemology. Of the three books in the series this is probably the narrowest in appeal. If you are just going to read one Warranted Christian Belief is probably your best bet.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging but rewarding 14 Mar 2009
By Bobby Bambino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You need to be on top of your epistemology and be prepared to spend a lot of time going through the arguments and examples carefully to get a lot out of this book. Plantinga is a genius, there is no doubt about that, but this book is pretty advanced. In this volume, Plantinga presents the current best theories of warrant/justification, and then shows problems with them. This, of course, is a lead-up to his next book in the series 'Warrant and Proper Function' where he gives what he believes to be a more adequate theory of warrant. Basically, he finds the same kind of problem with all the other theories of warrant. That is, they do not account for cognitive malfunction or someone "messing" with your brain. This is a very interesting counter-example because it implies (as I think he talks about in his next book) that it means something to have properly working cognitive faculties. I think the next question is "proper with respect to what?"

But in any event, this volume does a great job of preparing the reader for what he will do in the next book as well as giving the reader pretty much everything they'd ever want to know about the major views (up to Plantinga) on warrant or justification. I look forward to continuing with the series.
11 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Valuable reference with a lot of caveats 14 May 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book suffers from poor organization. For example, chapters 6 and 7 both deal with what Plantinga calls "Bayesian coherentism," as a theory of warrant, but it doesn't seem to me that there is such a thing. He creates a hypothetical theory of warrant out of a theory of probability associated with the 17th century clergyman Thomas Bayes. Then he spends two chapters discussing a variety of problems some of them associated with real life Bayesians (arguing over matters other than warrant) and others associated with his hypothetical Bayesianism.
Still, those who want a summary of a good part of the contemporary debate over epistemological questions will find it here, and you can use the footnotes to find other works in which to study the matters discussed with more depth.
I especially appreciatd the discussion of Laurence BonJour's version of coherentism. Plantinga finds BonJour's copmments on probability "thoroughly obscure....That precisely THAT mosquito should bite you precisely when and where it does, that on your cross-country trip on December 23 ar 4:13 PM you should be precisely where you are at that time, that there should be precisely the number of blades in your backyard that in fact adorn it...either these things are all improbable in the relevant sense or else I have no idea what that relevant sense might be."
A good point, that, and well expressed. Perhaps it was BonJour's problems with probability that stimulated the digression on Bayesianism.
0 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warrant: The Current Debate 15 Feb 2010
By Lisa R. Sloan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Recieved this item earlier than anticipated; item in excellent condition. Would definately use this seller again. Thanks for great service!
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